Jonny Nexus

Writing, life, politics

Month: January 2011

My Advice to Former Undercover PC Mark Kennedy

The story of PC Mark Kennedy, a.k.a. eco-activist Mark “Flash” Stone, is like something out of a Hollywood movie:

He turned up with long hair, tattoos and an insatiable appetite for climbing trees. Few people suspected anything odd of the man who introduced himself as Mark Stone on a dairy farm turned spiritual sanctuary in North Yorkshire.

He had come alone on 12 August 2003, in the middle of a heatwave, for a gathering of environmental activists known as Earth First.

Apart from the fact that “Stone” was apparently well-paid and ate meat, he appeared no different from the hundreds of other activists who gathered under marquees to smoke weed, play guitars and plan protests.

What no one could have known was that, despite appearances, the 33-year-old “freelance climber” was actually PC Mark Kennedy, an undercover police officer beginning an audacious operation to live deep undercover among environmental activists.

Source: The Guardian [Full Story…]

But after seven years undercover the story took a sensational turn.

Kennedy’s personal journey also appears to have ended with a remarkable twist. In recent weeks, after protesters discovered his hidden identity and circulated news that he was a police agent, Kennedy is said to have “gone native”. He has expressed remorse to betrayed friends and is seeking some way of securing redemption.

Kennedy is now living abroad, but recent developments suggest his desire for redemption is sincere. In email exchanges with activists and their lawyer, Kennedy talked of taking a “leap of faith”, giving the defence evidence that would “assist” them. “I want to help,” he said.

Kennedy is now apparently in the USA, but what should he do now? Well I think the course of action he needs to take now is clear. See, when I said that his story was “like something out of a Hollywood movie” I was speaking only a partial truth. It is like something out of a Hollywood movie, but only the start of one. There is half a story here, a beginning that leads to personal growth and then to a painful transformation, but there is no ending, no redemptive arc.

Kennedy needs to get back into the environmental movement, openly, as himself, offering the insights that only a poacher turned gamekeeper can offer, and endeavour to earn the forgiveness of those who once counted him a friend but now consider him an enemy.

Because only then is his story complete. And only then is his story option-able to a Hollywood movie-studio for a shitload of money.

Perhaps Our Non-Return To The Moon Isn’t Such A Surprise…

That we last visited the Moon in 1972 and have never since returned is usually regarded as both a disappointment and a surprise. Certainly, people at the time assumed that once Apollo had reached the Moon mankind was there to stay – just as once Columbus reached the Americas, many others followed. But something I read today has made me question that.

Do you know what happened on this day, fifty-two years ago? No? Then I guess unlike me you didn’t get an “On This Day” desk calendar from your sister-in-law for Christmas, because I did, and hence I do know what happened on this day, fifty-two years ago.

On January 4th 1958, a party led by Sir Edmund Hillary (of Everest fame) reached the South Pole after an overland journey. There were actually people waiting for them; the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station had been established by air over the previous two years. But when a US Navy party led by Admiral George J. Dufek had landed at the Pole in a C-47 Skytrain aircraft on 31st October 1956, they were the first people to stand at the Pole since Scott’s party, in 1912, forty-four years previously.

Like Kennedy and Krushchev, Amundsen and Scott had raced for the honour of being first to a destination, only to find out that honour aside, there was no reason to go there. Given that it took us forty-four years to return to the South Pole, is it that much of a surprise that our return to the far-harder-to-reach Moon is at thirty-seven years and counting?

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